, off-again feud
between front-running GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News is on again.
The real estate billionaire, who fired the opening shot at host Megyn Kelly
after the first GOP debate, lobbed new salvos at host Bill O'Reilly
in a Twitter rant Monday night – but the "O'Reilly Factor" host responded Monday on NBC's "Today" show the barbed tweets are "just an extension" of Trump's reality show schtick.
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"I've known Donald Trump for years. He wants people to like him," O'Reilly said. "When people criticize him, he takes it personally."
"And then, you know, this machine, this tweeting thing, that's like the worst thing you could give Donald Trump, is this tweeting thing," O'Reilly added. "So I just think this is just a extension of his reality show, 'The Apprentice.' This is just theater right now. … The personal stuff is a piffle."
tirade began with the blast, "I'm having a really hard time watching Fox News," slamming O'Reilly's popular show for being "very negative to me in refusing to post the great polls that came out…"
Fox News is "not good for me," Trump declared.
In another blast,
Trump said "The O'Reilly Factor" was "boring," chiding him for not having "some knowledgeable talking heads on our show for a change instead of the same old Trump haters."
One particularly prickly barb was aimed at National Review editor Rich Lowry.
But Lowry tweeted in kind
: "I had a feeling the talking like an eighth-grader line would get to you."
Trump also re-tweeted
the thumbs-down on Fox News from other critics, including one who advised: "Do what most of us are doing! Turn off Fox News. There is a major boycott going on with them, anyway. Problem solved!"
while still another Trump fan added:
O'Reilly maintains Trump will likely remain "competitive" in the GOP presidential primary, but said he couldn't say "with any certainty" he'd lead the pack.
"I think Trump has been good for politics in America, and I'm the only one that says that," O'Reilly declared.
"Everybody else is bashing the hell out of Donald Trump. That's the cheap thing to do. But he has engaged people, he has forced them to pay attention and they are paying attention, and that is good for America."
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